Gilani appointed Senate opposition leader

yousafRazaGilani

Islamabad – Mudasser Chudhary:

The PPP has filed the request for the post of Senate Opposition leader amid differences among the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) component parties for the office,on Friday.

Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani earlier today filed the nomination papers for the slot, according to pictures shared by PPP Senator Rubina Khalid on Twitter.

According to report, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has secured the support of 30 Opposition senators for the prized post which has been a matter of contention between the PML-N and the PPP.

Talking to the media after submitting the request, Senator Sherry Rehman said the PPP’s request has the signatures of 21 senators from the party, two from the ANP, one from the Jamat-e-Islami, two from erstwhile Fata and four members of the upper house from Dilawar Khan’s independent group.

Speaking on reports of the contentious issue spelling doom for the Opposition alliance, Rehman said the move was not the PDM’s funeral but the PPP’s right.

However, Gillani said he was not aware how many senators are supporting him Sherry Rehman has called him here.

As per the rules, the Chairman Senate declares a member as Leader of the Opposition having the support of the majority of the members in opposition within 15 days of the election of chairman and deputy chairman.

The two main Opposition parties — the PPP and the PML-N — are at loggerheads over the matter with Maryam Nawaz saying multiple times that the PDM leaders had decided that the Senate chairman would be from the PPP, deputy chairman from the JUI-F and the Opposition leader’s slot would go to her party.

PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had also said that PML-N should get the post and reportedly talked to PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to respect the decision taken by the PDM leaders.

The PPP, however, responded by saying the situation is no more the same after the March 12 debacle in which Gillani lost the election despite having the majority in the upper house.

Widening rift between PPP, PML-N

The two main Opposition parties — the PPP and the PML-N — had been at loggerheads over the matter, with PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz stressing multiple times that PDM leaders had previously decided that the Senate chairman would be from the PPP, deputy chairman from the JUI-F and the Opposition leader’s slot would go to her party.

PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had also said that PML-N should get the post and reportedly talked to PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to ask him to respect the decision taken by the PDM leaders.

The PPP, however, had responded by saying the situation is no more the same after the March 12 debacle, which saw Gillani losing the election for the top slot in the Senate despite seemingly having the support of majority in the Upper House.

The PPP had also objected to the PML-N’s nominee for the Senate Opposition Leader’s position, Azam Nazeer Tarar, as he had legally represented the accused in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

The tensions had reached a boiling pitch when Maryam subtly suggested in a tweet that Bilawal Bhutto was being ‘nurtured’ as a replacement for the ‘selected’ prime minister.

Bilawal had responded in a similar vein, stressing that the PPP had never believed in the politics of ‘selection’, but that he knew of “a family from Lahore” that had benefited from such practices in the past.
How the Opposition leader in Senate is selected

Declaration of Leader of the Opposition:

(1) After the election of the Chairman and Deputy Chairman under Article 60 of the Constitution and at any time thereafter, the Chairman shall declare Leader of the Opposition within 15 days.

(2) The Chairman shall inform the members about the date, time and place for submission of a name for the Leader of the Opposition under their signatures:

Provided that an independent member including a member from FATA, elected to the Senate, who has not given his option to join the opposition benches, shall not be eligible to support any member for the office of Leader of the Opposition.

(3) The Chairman shall declare a member as Leader of the Opposition having the support of the majority of the members in opposition:

Provided that if two or more members have equal support for the office of Leader of the Opposition, the member belonging to the party having the largest numerical strength in the Opposition to the Government, shall be declared by the Chairman, as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

(4) A Leader of the Opposition so declared shall lose the office of the Leader of the Opposition as and when the majority of the members in Opposition withdraw their support.

(5) As a result of loss of support under sub-rule (4), the Chairman may declare another member as Leader of the Opposition, under this rule.